There is no doubt now that Stanford is a complete ball club.
Early this year, this blogger had questions about its defense. In three consecutive games versus Oregon, USC & Washington State, the Cardinal defense allowed the following: 1,512 yards of offense and 115 points.
If the Cardinal had any aspirations of a BCS berth, they had to win out, which meant that their defense had to get its act together.
In its last five games the Cardinal defense has been stout. Including two shutouts, 1,387 yards allowed and squandering only 44 points.
In that previously mentioned three game span the Stanford defense allowed an average of 504 yards and 38.3 points per game. Last five games an average of 277.4 yards and 8.8 points per game.
The biggest improvement is how the defense has been able to kill drives by finishing teams off on 3rd down. In the three games mentioned earlier, those teams were 50% or better on 3rd down conversions. Last five games: 2-11, 7-16, 1-9, 6-14, and topping it all off with a 4-13 effort against the Beavers. That translates to 32% success rate for Cardinal foes when attempting to convert on 3rd down.
The Cardinal seem to be more aggressive on 3rd down than they were earlier in the season. They are getting to the quarterback, and while they may not be recording sacks, they are rushing quarterbacks into throws that the receiver is simply not ready for.
The talk across the country will be about Andrew Luck, and deservedly so. Luck was masterful against Oregon State, conducting six scoring drives, accumulating 470 yards of total offense, throwing for 305 yards, 4 touchdowns and beating John Elway’s 30 year old record for most touchdowns in a season by a Cardinal quarterback with 28. He still has one more game to play.
Where that game will be remains to been seen. I’ll have a blog about that later.
If you are a Cardinal fan, you have a lot to be thankful for this year. Most notably for the inaccurate foot of Boise State’s kicker and the Razorback’s effort versus LSU.
Stanford is a complete ball club and they are peaking at the perfect time. Coach Jim Harbaugh has pushed the right buttons and is sadly setting himself up for a better gig. This guy can flat out coach. They can run and throw it on offense and they appear to be a force to wrecked with in which ever bowl game they end up in.
Let’s just hope this team gets its just due and plays in a meaningful BCS game and is not casted off to a second rate bowl game.
About the Author
Written by Donovan Williams
32 year-old sports fan who has the audacity to think that he could be good at this sports writing thing. I'll be honest. I'll be snarky. I'll be sarcastic. Maybe not in that order. It is my goal to ensure that my opinions will generate a response from you, dear reader. Good, bad or indifferent, I welcome your replies.